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Wars of Conquest and Independence

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  • Roland Hodler
  • Hadi Yektas

Abstract

Wars of conquest and wars of independence are characterized by an asymmetric payoff structure: one party gets aggregate production if it wins, and its own production if it loses, while the other party gets only its own production if it wins, and nothing if it loses. We study a model of war with such an asymmetric payoff structure, and private information about military technologies. We characterize continuous equilibrium strategies and find that the party that gets aggregate production when winning fights aggressively only if its military technology is relatively good, while the other party fights quite aggressively even if its military technology is relatively poor. From an ex ante perspective, this other party is therefore more likely to win the war unless its expected military technology is considerably worse. Our model may thus explain why defending countries and secessionist groups often win against much larger opponents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4282.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4282

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Keywords: conflict; war; asymmetric contests; private information;

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References

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  1. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
  2. Bester, Helmut & Konrad, Kai A., 2004. "Delay in contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1169-1178, October.
  3. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 1994. "An Analysis of the War of Attrition and the All-Pay Auction," Game Theory and Information, EconWPA 9409002, EconWPA.
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  5. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
  6. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier.
  7. Meirowitz, Adam & Sartori, Anne E., 2008. "Strategic Uncertainty as a Cause of War," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 327-352, December.
  8. Roland Hodler & Hadi Yektas, 2010. "All-pay war," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series, The University of Melbourne 1098, The University of Melbourne.
  9. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
  10. Amann, Erwin & Leininger, Wolfgang, 1996. "Asymmetric All-Pay Auctions with Incomplete Information: The Two-Player Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, May.
  11. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
  12. Farmer, Amy & Pecorino, Paul, 1999. " Legal Expenditure as a Rent-Seeking Game," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 271-88, September.
  13. Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
  14. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  15. Dan Kovenock J. & Brian Roberson, 2010. "Conflicts with Multiple Battlefields," CESifo Working Paper Series 3165, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Konrad, Kai A., 2009. "Strategy and Dynamics in Contests," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549603, October.
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